ASIA/INDONESIA - Camillians on the island of Flores for 13 years

Wednesday, 26 October 2022


Maumere (Agenzia Fides) - The number thirteen is described as a "lucky number" and this also seems to apply to the Camillians in Indonesia who, on July 3, 2009, that is 13 years ago, arrivved in Maumere, on the island of Flores, one of the 17,000 islands of the Indonesian archipelago, to establish a new mission there.
Father Luigi Galvani (MI), founder of the mission, reports to Fides. "It seemed like an impossible dream to set foot in this large Asian country with a majority (90%) Muslim population. Fortunately, the island of Flores has the highest percentage of Catholics (70%) and enjoys a promising number of vocations to priestly and religious life. Surely that was also the main reason why we Camillians came there".
From the beginning, the missionaries were distinguished by a great deal of goodwill and a dream of a hopeful future. "In just thirteen years of presence," said Father Luigi, "the growth is clearer than ever and has gathered about a hundred young candidates for the missionary life in four formation houses, three of them on the island of Flores and one on the island of Timor. Furthermore, it was possible to set up two social centers capable of accommodating around seventy young pupils and students, who will be offered English and computer courses and who will have the opportunity to organize seminars for various groups and associations".
There were initiatives in the social field as well. This includes a food aid program for hundreds of families in need, especially during the long period of the Covid-19 pandemic. Added to this is the project of long distance adoptions in favor of dozens of needy students. "They were the 'sign of solidarity' that helped to prepare young students for graduation, thus ensuring them a more stable and dignified future. However, the 'pearl' of the various social activities of the Camillian Mission was the project of seventy little houses, built to free the mentally ill from their chains," says Father Galvani with pleasure. "They were forced to live under inhumane hygienic conditions in poor huts or under makeshift tents. In their new accommodation they can now move freely, sleep on a bed, have a table to eat and above all a toilet with water" reports the missionary (see Fides, 15/3/2019).
"This project is supported by the greatly appreciated by local authorities and shows positive results in seeing how many sick people have been rehabilitated and are returning to family and community life with joy and serenity. The pastoral ministry in some of the city's hospitals and in the slums of some parishes has also developed positively. These have also become places of formation for our seminarians, who make the Camillian charism of charity alive and present there every week."
The Indonesian Mission also maintains missionary work in Pakistan and East Timor by accepting young people from these countries into their formation centers for their Camillian and missionary formation in order to prepare for a future religious presence in their home countries.
"In just thirteen years of presence," concluded the missionary, "the Indonesian Camillian community is currently made up of ten priests, six deacons, twenty-three
professed religious, four novices and about sixty seminarians of philosophy. All of this was certainly possible thanks to great trust in Providence and the fact that we were able to build 'bridges of love' with generous benefactors, making them feel part of their Indonesian missionary 'team'." (LG) (Agenzia Fides, 26/10/2022)